DIFI sheds light on mothers’ mental health and its role in family cohesion during pandemic

In online seminar to celebrate World Mental Health Day

Doha, Qatar- October xx, 2021: Qatar Foundation’s Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) stressed the pivotal role of women in enhancing family cohesion and well-being, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in women taking on greater physical and psychological responsibilities– in a webinar organized in partnership with Sidra Medicine titled ‘COVID-19: The Unseen Role of Mothers’.

Coming as part of QF’s membership celebration of the World Mental Health Day 2021, themed Mental Health for All: Let’s Make This a Reality, the webinar focused on mothers’ important role during the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing a spotlight on the new family responsibilities imposed by this global crisis on women, and the consequences this had on their mental health.

The webinar featured the participation of a group of mental health experts, including Dr. Suhaila Ghuloom, Senior Consultant of Psychiatry, Hamad Medical Corporation, and Mrs. Manal A. Samara, Psychological Consultant at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, Sidra Medicine, Professor Fajr Alhalban, Kuwaiti Psychological Consultant, and Dr. Wafaa Elsawy, Technical Officer, World Health Organization. The session was moderated by Dr. Huda Al-Sulaiti, Senior Research Director at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University – a member of QF.

In a study conducted by DIFI on promoting work-family balance policies, most of the women participating in the study saw that the attempt to adapt to the circumstances forced working women to constantly make sacrifices, thus affecting women’s physical and mental health, and making them feel frustrated, depressed, or hopeless. The study also reported an increase in the responsibility for caring for children, the husband, and the elderly in large families, while attending to work online. Hence, 18% of the sample suffered from ‘increased teaching burdens’.